Starting a Business

Steve Blank on the Era of the Lean Startup

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The Era of the Lean StartupEntrepreneur, academic, writer and advocate Steve Blank is excited. At the SXSW Startup Village, the Lean Startup movement he helped pioneer had an all-day, rotating panel session packed to the rafters with one of the most exuberant crowds at the annual festival in recent memory. Some of those attendees were wearing black t-shirts emblazoned with the hashtag #500Strong. But the real reason for Blank’s excitement is linked to the publication of his new book, "The Startup Owner’s Manual," as well as the publication of a handful of other lean startup-themed books (notably "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries in 2011). According to Blank there is now, for the first time, a series of books on modern entrepreneurship.

According to Blank, people have come to realize that startups are not simply smaller versions of large companies. A startup is a temporary organization that’s designed to search, not to execute. A startup, whether it’s for a physical product or for the web/mobile/cloud, is in fact searching for a repeatable and scalable business model.

Blank’s website is a trove of information, resources and an archive of past presentations. His 2012 SXSW presentation is already online and available to everyone, and it merits a walkthrough.

Related: SXSW 2012 Kicks Off (Video)

As a parting thought, Blank shared the biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make – and that’s “staying inside the building.” Despite entrepreneurship being more of an art than science, entrepreneurship is still built around facts, data, experiments, hypotheses (both proven and disproven) and none of them can be discovered if you’re isolated from your customers, vendors and partners. Get out there and talk to them.

While you’re outside of the building, Blank’s recommends the book "Business Model Generation" by Alexander Osterwalder, among others. 

Related: Reid Hoffman, Permanent Beta and the Startup of You

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